By Jason Strickland Democrat Sports Reporter
August 12, 2014
The State Fair brings a variety of people and entertainment to the fairgrounds, but one group of entertainers has created a completely different life for themselves.
Team Rock performs martial arts three times a day on the Ditzfeld stage, breaking concrete blocks and flaming wooden boards in a variety of ways.
But their fair shows are only a small part of what they do all year.
“We are also a Christian ministry group so we do a lot of creative outreach for Christianity, which allows us the opportunity to travel all over the place,” said Team Rock member Kyle Palmer.
The 33-year old helped start the team in 2009. He said the United States didn’t have an extreme breaking team, so Team Rock became the country’s official representative in the sport.
“We’ve traveled literally all over the world,” Palmer said. “I’ve almost been to every continent with the team.”
Antarctica and South America are the only continents the team hasn’t traveled to. Palmer said the four-person team rotates members frequently.
“We’re always looking for new team members,” he said. “People that are willing to do this kind of work, willing to travel, willing to give up a lot to do what we do.”
Palmer lives in a camper with his wife and adopted son, while the other members share another camper.
Caleb Richmond, 21, joined the group with Cody Hansel nearly three months ago.
“I sold everything I had and now I’m on Team Rock,” Richmond said. “It was a huge leap of faith. I was going to join the Army, so I already had things lined up to sell and leave but I’ve never traveled all over or anything.”
He added that he was scared at first, but felt like he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“This isn’t an ordinary job,” he said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I decided to go with it.”
Alex “Jin” Algar is the fourth member of the team. He mostly does flips while breaking wooden boards. Richmond also does some leaping and flipping tricks, while Hansel and Palmer provide the muscle.
Palmer said he holds multiple martial arts records, including breaking 15 concrete blocks with his forearm.
“It’s actually isn’t a power thing, it’s a speed thing,” he said. “It’s a combination of both.”
The team is on tour most of the year, only taking breaks during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Richmond said he’s gotten used to traveling and living in a camper and added that he’s enjoying entertaining a variety of audiences.
“I’m still getting used to signing autographs and kids wanting my autograph,” he said. “That’s way over my head.”